Bay Bridge construction causes major traffic backups
MARYLAND – If you’ve driven across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge recently, it’s no secret that the construction has been causing massive backups. The $27 million project is expected to take two years and we’re only a few weeks in.
The traffic has gotten so bad that some schools on the Eastern Shore have cancelled field trips to areas like Baltimore. Others say they intentionally avoid driving near the bridge during peak traffic hours.
“I’ve adjusted my schedule. I have changed appointments from over the bridge to locally,” says Mary Foss, an Eastern Shore resident.
“I can plan accordingly. That’s why I’m shopping here later in the morning,” says Richard Deighan, an Eastern Shore resident.
Residents on Maryland’s Eastern Shore say the massive Bay Bridge construction project is causing a lot of headaches.
“I just don’t go over there just to go over there you know? It has to be a good purpose,” says Foss.
The rehab started the last week of September and Maryland’s Transportation Authority warned residents of “major delays”. But no one was expecting back ups, stretching for miles.
“You can’t announce you’re going to have a two-year project and begin it with 14 mile back ups. And just as long back ups as going in the westerly direction,” says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.
Depending on the day, either just the right lane or all the lanes on the westbound side are closed as crews make necessary repairs to the more than 4-mile long bridge.
“Well it’s a complete mess and it’s due to the fact that the proper planning strategy and preparation wasn’t done,” says Franchot.
Franchot tells 47 ABC he sent a letter to the State’s Transportation Secretary suggesting the work be put on hold until a better plan is in place. “They could restart it next fall September after the summer traffic with a plan in place and a strategy for taking care of some of the back up.”
But until that happens, locals say they just have to plan ahead and face the nightmare. “You know it’s a no win situation but it’s stuff that has to be done and you just got to deal with it unfortunately,” says Deighan.
Franchot says he hasn’t heard back from the State’s Transportation Secretary yet. But officials are doing a few things to help alleviate traffic like cashless tolls on Thursdays and Fridays between noon and 10 p.m. They’ve also decided to open the westbound side, for two way traffic, when backups are “especially bad.”
47 ABC also reached out to Governor Larry Hogan for a statement but we haven’t heard back yet. Maryland’s Transportation Secretary also says the state is talking with the contractor to see if the work can be finished in one year instead of two. Meanwhile, this online petition asking for a better solution to the traffic has already gotten almost 3-thousand signatures.
To see the state’s complete project overview: click here.